Not that life has been a silent film, just an unintelligible one. Which is fine. Life doesn't make a lot of sense most of the time, in fact it is far easier to translate Archer's babbles then it is to understand everyone else's English.

Somehow, this whole time I have managed just fine, understanding Archer's methods of communication like it was second nature. Like we were communicating telepathically, without any words at all.

Speech therapy starts in the next couple of weeks. It will go on twice a week until we all agree he doesn't need it anymore. Except in the last few weeks Archer has started talking. I haven't said anything about this until this week because I was afraid that what happened last time might happen again. (I got really excited when Archer spent an entire day pointing at helicopters and calling them he-ca-cas several months ago, only to become disappointed when I realized it was a one-time thing.) But this isn't a one-time thing. Archer is using words, words that even strangers can understand.

Yesterday he said please and today he said thank you. He doesn't say Da-da but he can say, "Hal." Er.. "Howl," which is what he calls Hal. And "Meow" means cat. And when he hides my makeup brushes under the bed, he says, "wha-di-go?"

Wha-di-go, Howl?

And today he said, "Hi" to a stranger and "bye-bye" to me when I tucked him into bed, waving at me through the bars of his crib. "Byebyebye."

I was so proud I had to take him out of bed and hug him.

"Yay!" he said, clapping.

"Yay, is right, buster," I said.

We have been told that Archer is thirteen-months behind linguistically. It says so on the piece of paper Early Intervention sent to us. The one we had to sign and send back so he can get assistance.

In the past I have been quick to become defensive about words like "behind." Because it's all relative and Archer has always done things at his own pace, with grace and confidence, happily wandering in circles reaching his hands toward the squirrels, squealing as they scamper across telephone lines.

But today I got to thinking about what it means to be behind, about one of the classic tales of slow and steady wins the race. And I watched as Archer clapped away, as proud as a person could possibly be of himself, unaware of the so-called "finish-line".

The whole world's a race, unfortunately, and our children are growing up during a very rushed time. And I will not deny that Archer has some catching up to do, but he's making his way, coming around the bend, his little head poking out of his shell, smiling and babbling in his little language, and every so often, muttering a word or two.



Anonymous | 3:05 AM

That is fantastic! just you wait- the words will comw flying out of his mouth soon- once it starts he'll have 100 words before you know it and then you won't be able to shut him up- a friend of mine i grew up with didn't talk unitil he was 8, and he's now a high flying business man and heart throb aswell!

Blog Antagonist | 3:38 AM

My Diminutive One was and is the same way. He marches to his own beat, he takes life at his own pace. He didn't speak until he was fully three. He walked early, but that was because he wanted to. He is 9 now, and just learned to tie his shoes. Because it was time. His time. And maybe a little because I threatened to buy him velcro shoes with Transformers on them.

Anyway...the point is...he was always "behind", and still is in some respects. But he is fantastically bright, creative, and imaginative. I''m sure that Archer is too.

Anonymous | 4:37 AM

I hope someday that the world will realize that kids who march to a different beat are born to be trailblazers - they may be wired differently because we need differently-wired people in the future - life is NOT the same as it was before - maybe our kids are cutting edge -who the hell knows?! All I know is that, like you, I am so proud to be my kid's mom and I won't let anyone tell me that his uniquely colored rainbows make him 'abnormal' - love u...keep fightin

Molly | 5:23 AM

I agree one thousand percent that every kid does things at his/her own pace, and in almost every case, it doesn't matter one whit what that pace is. When you wrote about the assessment of Archer as "delayed," I felt awful on your behalf. Archer is his own man, just like you are your own woman.

The people who love you, love you for the fact that you are your own woman. Just like you love Archer for being his own man.

That being said, I acknowledge how incredibly gratifying it is when your kids start to talk. My son still makes little to no sense to me about half the time, and sometimes I'm pretty sure he's just screwing with me. But when you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he says "AWESOME!" I can't help but think, dude, you already are.

Congrats to Archer on the new words, and to you too, Mama.

Chicky Chicky Baby | 6:07 AM

Yay for Archer! That is really great news. But, honestly, as long as he speaks to you that's all that matters right now.

BOSSY | 6:14 AM

Just wait until the two of you tour America looking at colleges. There will be plenty of time for talking.

metro mama | 6:17 AM

That's great news! We're still on the waiting list for therapy, but Cakes is starting to talk more and more (tho' I still don't understand a lot!)

He's doing great.

Unknown | 7:18 AM

I love your blog, I love you and Archer. I want to hug you guys. I'm totally on Team Archer, out here cheering him on and feeling so happy and proud. Thank you for letting us into your world.

Lisa Dunick | 9:07 AM

Congratulations on the first words. I love that you celebrate Archer for himself rather than measuring him against some sort of artificial set of expectations.

foodiemama | 9:10 AM

watch out...soon you'll be dodging the why?s. fun stuff!
archer is perfect! i know what you mean when they march to their own drum but man thats a wonderful quality to have as i know you know!

Her Bad Mother | 9:14 AM

Three cheers for your beautiful, wonderful, amazing little tortoise.

girlysmack | 9:59 AM

I have really, really enjoyed reading your journey with Archer. I love that you are so accepting of his "difference" and I like to think I would be the same way. But with autism in the news so often, I freak out about every little milestone. I read the post where Archer was being evaluated with my heart in my throat. You are like a hero to me. A hero mom. And Archer is one lucky little dude. His eyes, in the fabulous pictures you post, reflect such an old soul. It's like he is just sitting back, taking every thing in, and he just has no comment yet. I mean, who the hell says "helicopter" but not "dada?" I think it's maybe just that you "get" him so well, he doesn't need to say anything. How amazing is that?

motherbumper | 10:55 AM

He is taking this race at a perfect pace, hip hip hurray for Archer!

Anonymous | 10:57 AM

That's so great! Go Archer! My son is talking a lot now but he's still REALLY hard to understand and I know a lot of people just don't think he's talking at all. What amazes me (and I'll bet Archer will do this too) is that when you finally start keying in on what they're saying, they are speaking some pretty complex stuff! Jokes and games and observations that you just don't expect. The other day (apparently) my son burst out with "Mommy loves to shop" to a stranger in the store, while we were shopping. (I didn't think I was so obvious a two-year-old would pick up on it.)

Fraulein | 11:15 AM

I often think that the milestone markers are bullshit. The books say that most kids walk at 12 months, but I've seen so many kids who walked MUCH later. My Peanut's always been a talker, but there are kids older than her -- some over age 3 -- in her pre-school who can barely be understood most of the time, and no one seems to be freaking out about them.

They all make their own way in their own good time.

nonlineargirl | 11:46 AM

Your love for him is so palpable. It is nice to see you enjoying him in all stages.

Heather | 2:55 PM

What a wonderful post. This world of rules and measurements of normal and blah blah. None of it's real. Their rules of normal are all made up.

Shel | 3:18 PM

you're going to crack up when the day comes that you say to yourself "will that kid ever stop talking?" :)

all in good time.....he's too cute.

Mom101 | 6:18 PM

Ya know...while it does seem like we're in the midst of an ongoing race at this point, something tells me that in the scheme of things we're going to look back and realize we were talking about a block or so over the course of a marathon.

I can just hear him saying "wha di go, howl?" and I'm beaming.

Anonymous | 6:24 PM

there is so much pressure to do things on time with the kids these days. One of mine wasn't crawling or walking on time and they had us running all over getting him tested here and MRIs there. After we were done we had a week before we received all the test results. Wouldn't you know he got up and literally ran during that week!

I have learned that kids have their own pace and will completely surprise us with all they can do when we least expect it.

Your little Archer is beautiful and I am sure he will be talking up a storm in no time...

Unknown | 7:08 PM

Yay, Archer. Way to go, Bud!. I am probably echoing a lot of commenters when I say that the late talkers I know progress rapidly with their speach once they decide to start talking. It makes sense really, because it isn't like he doesn't know what things are, he just doesn't use the words we do for them.



archer, i have been wondering the same thing this whole time.

Wha-di-go, Howl? Wha-di-GO?!?


Julie Marsh | 8:32 AM

Sometimes I think of how strange it will be when CJ talks - really talks. I've grown accustomed to the current routine.